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Thursday, December 22, 2011

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1 Samuel 1:24-28
1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8
Luke 1:46-56

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"My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my Savior." —Luke 1:46-47

Mary's Magnificat (Lk 1:46-55) should be compared with the songs of praise by Hannah (1 Sm 2:1-10) and Zechariah (Lk 1:68-79). While Mary's prophetic praises stand out in many ways, the greatest difference is in their contexts. Hannah praised the Lord at the presentation of Samuel. She had been through the shame of barrenness (1 Sm 1:7). The birth of Samuel had changed all that, and she had reason to praise the Lord.

Likewise, Zechariah had endured many long years of childlessness and been deaf and dumb for nine months (Lk 1:20, 62). Now his son was born, his tongue was loosed (Lk 1:64), and he had reason to praise the Lord.

In contrast, Luke puts Mary's praises at the beginning of her pregnancy. She was praising the Lord not only after her suffering but before and during her suffering. She was not only praising afterwards but praising anyway. She was praising by faith and not because she saw favorable circumstances (2 Cor 5:7).

In our prayer these last few days of Advent, we should praise the Lord in hard times. He is Lord, and His love dwarfs even the greatest sufferings.

Prayer:  Father, may I praise You as did Mary, Paul, and Silas (see Acts 16:22-25).

Promise:  "His mercy is from age to age on those who fear Him." —Lk 1:50

Praise:  "O King of all nations, the only Joy of every human heart, O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust."

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Mary's Visitation on audio AV 73-3 or video V-73.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 27, 2011

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